Not a chemistry nerd? You don't need to be!! This pool alkalinity thing is a breeze!! The total alkalinity (TA) is the measurement of how alkaline your pool water is. For swimming pool water, we concern ourselves with bicarbonate alkalinity which should be maintained between 80 ppm and 120 ppm. When the total alkalinity is within range, it stops the pH from bouncing up and down, or sometimes called "pH Bounce". It also helps stabilize your pool's pH level.
Remember to take small steps when making adjustments to your (TA). You can always add more but it's a little harder to get it out.
That's why we TEST TEST and TEST our pool water. There's no way for us to know what our chemical readings are without taking the proper tests. Our alkalinity levels should be between 80 - 120 ppm and our pH should be a stable 7.2 - 7.8. The pool test kit I use and recommend is the Taylor K-2006. It's the best on the market and will give you the most accurate readings.
As a general rule, you'll want to use 1.5 lbs. of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of pool water to increase your pool's alkalinity 10 ppm. Or you can use this tool for your pool calculations. Once you know your pool water volume, you're half way to success.
No diluting your baking soda in a bucket is needed. Baking soda is safe to add directly to your pool. For this procedure you'll need:
Try to not use baking soda on a windy day as this will cause frustration and possible loss of your chemical.
This is a systemic procedure, meaning, the baking soda must go through the entire system, so allow for one full turn-over of the water before retesting. Increase your pool's alkalinity by taking small steps. We can always add more baking soda if needed, but it's much more difficult to take it out.
If you accidently over-shoot your alkalinity mark and use too much baking soda, there are some simple things you can do such as:
Since starting in the pool industry in 1999, I've always used sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to raise total alkalinity and sodium carbonate (soda ash) to raise pH. The only the exception to this rule is if BOTH the total alkalinity and pH are low. Then of course, baking soda is my go-to product.
In short, absolutely YES!! Being that baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate, and you can easily find it for a fraction of the price you'd pay for Alkalinity Increaser at your local pool store. So go buy some baking soda and get your pool's alkalinity in check.
Can you become a pro and take care of your pool? Yes and yes. Just by learning a few simple things, you'll be well on your way to maintaining your pool like a professional that's been cleaning pools for over 20 years. (Wink).